Kampong Thom provincial authorities are looking for a lorry owner and a driver who escaped after joint forces stopped it while it illegally transported timber on Sunday in Prasat Balang district.
The provincial director of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department, Pen Vannarith, said on Monday that the lorry was transporting cassava from Preah Vihear province to Phnom Penh through the province, but it looked suspicious and joint forces stopped it for inspection when it reached Prasat Balang district.
The driver opened the truck door and escaped, he said. Officials then had a look and found hundreds of Cheuteal logs placed under the cassava.
“The truck and logs were impounded at the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. We do not know the specific amount of the logs yet because Forestry Administration officials are measuring it,” he said.
“If the owner of the truck and timber appear to take responsibility, we will solve it in accordance with the law.”
Provincial Forestry Administration director Bun Thy said he suspected that the lorry was transporting something illegally, so he asked the driver to drive it to an office to have it checked.
Before reaching the office, the driver stopped and ran away. Authorities are unsure of the number of people in the vehicle at the time the driver fled.
They transported timber without permission and put cassava on it to keep it out of sight, he said.
“The relevant authorities are searching for those responsible for the crime. Each log is between 3 and 5m long,” he said.
Phal Thoeun, Prasat Balang district police chief, whose police joined the crackdown, said he has not been briefed on the outcome of the operation yet.